Learning from our minority engineering students: Improving retention

Maria A. Reyes, Mary R. Anderson-Rowland, Mary Ann McCartney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


Since the summer of 1996, the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) at Arizona State University (ASU) has directed an MEP Summer Bridge Program for students entering the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) in the fall semester. Participating students compete in teams for scholarships as they learn how to cope with the difficult introduction to engineering course. A requirement for the scholarship is attendance in the fall Academic Excellence class (2-semester hours credit). Approximately 40 students have attended the bridge program each year and their one-year retention is significantly higher than the retention of minority students who do not attend the bridge program or of non-minority engineering students. Focus groups were held with a sample of these bridge students to understand factors that have helped in their retention and also to identify factors that made retention difficult. The students related the reasons why they attended the bridge program, how the program helped them decide to major in engineering at ASU, how the bridge program affected their start as a freshman, and how the Academic Excellence class assisted them in remaining as a student in engineering. The students also related situations that made matriculation as an engineering student difficult. Some of the information received from these students has produced changes in the academic system to increase retention of underrepresented minority students. The paper gives additional insights as to how minority engineering students fare in academia and how this information can be used to improve their retention and the academic system in which they are immersed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2000
Event2000 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Engineering Education Beyond the Millenium - St. Louis, MO, United States
Duration: Jun 18 2000Jun 21 2000


Other2000 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Engineering Education Beyond the Millenium
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySt. Louis, MO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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